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Chipotle Opens! (Downtown Toronto)

m
markml Aug 15, 2008 06:59 PM

I know that a number of people on Chowhound have been talking about this, and since I don't think anyone has reported back yet, let me be the first:

For those who don't know, Chipotle is a burrito chain from the U.S. that opened its first Canadian restaurant TODAY on Yonge Street near the Toronto Life Center.

The lines weren't too long, even for opening day, but ultimately I was a bit dissapointed and just wanted to prepare anyone who is getting their hopes up about this. By Toronto standards, what I got would be considered an above-average burrito, but that's not saying a lot and I wouldn't even say it was the best I've had in the city.

In retrospect, I was never a big fan of Chipotle in the U.S., and growing up in California, I was used to having more choices than that. However, the burrito I got here at this new Torontonian Chiptle seemed even slightly worse than the Chipotles I remember in the U.S., although I can't put my finger on exactly why. FYI, I had a barbacoa burrito.

One thing that was inexcusably bad were the chips and salsa. They almost made me want to puke. They were rubbery and packaged like they'd been sitting in storage for a year, and had a nauseating amount of salt on them to disguise probably to disguise the lack of flavor. Come to think of it, the hot salsa had a distinctive salty taste as well (neither are supposed to). You can definitely get much better chips and salsa in a supermarket, and the worst part is that they charge extra for both the chips AND the salsa. I don't remember if they do that in the U.S. or not, but the chips are definitely not worth extra.

I should point out that some people on here have also recommended a place called Moes, which is another U.S. chain, and I have to say that their burritos are better than Chipotle's in my opinion. The best thing I can say about Chipotle is that if it becomes popular, it may start a trend and we may start to get other U.S. Southwest cusine coming north.

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  1. t
    tjr Aug 15, 2008 07:27 PM

    I tried Chipotle today as well (and responded in the original Chipotle Toronto thread; I wonder if my post stuck), and prefer it over Moe's or the Boys. I didn't try the chips or salsa, but the burrito tasted the same to me as the US versions (or better, in some cases). I went when they were just opening in the morning, and everything seemed fresh to me.

    Here's my post in the original thread:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5292...

    2 Replies
    1. re: tjr
      m
      markml Aug 15, 2008 10:52 PM

      Did you really find that burrito too large to eat the whole thing? That's weird...I thought it was rather small. I've definitely seen buritos 5x larger in the States.

      I will agree with you the ingredients seemed pretty fresh and good quality (with the exception of the chips), which is very uncommon for fast food type places around here. They even had real lettuce, not iceburg. The meat seemed fairly on-par with what I remember its U.S. counterparts being like, which is a good thing. I think that's their trademark.

      On the other hand, the sour cream was a bit flat and the cheese was rather plain too, which are two things important to my burrito even though I know its not strictly authentic.

      I tried Moes in Toronto not long ago, and I actually thought they were fairly decent. They have some unique flavors in their mix. Their salsa is also much better and free, the way it should be.

      1. re: markml
        t
        tjr Aug 17, 2008 08:47 PM

        I have also had much bigger burritos as well (and didn't manage to eat them either). Some people have larger or smaller appetites; mine is small, especially when it comes to lunch.

        I didn't try the chips, because the burrito was already more than enough food.

    2. s
      snackboy Aug 15, 2008 11:08 PM

      I had the Carnitas with black beans Burrito today and found it was as good as in the states . . . Have I had a better burrito in Mexico, california, texas, arizona?.... yes . . . have I had a better one in toronto? . . . No (and I've tried many)...I think it's a pretty good deal for the money considering a footlong from certain sub shops cost you the same or more and they are not remotely "real" . . . at least you are getting some fresh ingredients and meat you can actually identify . . . .

      As well ...I have a decent appetite and I was definitely full after my meal . . . .as far as the chips go . . . I didn't order them as I never liked them in the states either....

      That's my 2 cents worth...

      SB

      P.S. For the record I actually do like the subs from Belly Busters on Yonge street . . . I didn't want to come across as an anti sub guy as they do serve their purpose...

      4 Replies
      1. re: snackboy
        m
        markml Aug 16, 2008 12:14 AM

        If by "certain sub shops", you mean Subway, that's what Quizno's was invented for. No processed cheese and fresh hand-carved meat. I mean, I've seen them carve...at least in the U.S.

        Chips are half the dining experience, when I'm in the mood for anything Mexicanish. I'm surprised they were so bad, because it seems like such a simple thing, but bad chips can totally ruin the mojo.

        I mean, I knew I should have been suspicious when I saw the chips came prepackaged in paper bags, but at the last minute I said, "what the hey, I'll give them a try." I wanted to have the full experience. But after eating a few of them, I just stopped, because I knew my tongue would go numb from the huge salt crystals and I wouldn't be able to taste anything else I was eating. That's how bad they were!

        The one thing I'm hoping right now is that after Chipotle's brave move, their biggest competitor, Baja Fresh, will take a hint and also come up here.

        1. re: markml
          b
          basileater Aug 25, 2008 01:47 PM

          The food at Quiznos is just as processed as any of the other sub chains. It's barely even food.

        2. re: snackboy
          Calipoutine Aug 17, 2008 06:17 AM

          How much was the burrito? I'm curious as to the price difference between Canada and the US.

          1. re: Calipoutine
            m
            mramage Aug 17, 2008 08:55 AM

            IT is $7.64 regardless of the meat or whether you order the burrito or the taco.

        3. Kagemusha Aug 16, 2008 08:09 AM

          It's just specialty fast food--dependably mediocre at best. I think we're all still waiting for credible indy tacos and burritos that approach the better American versions. I keep hoping for a killer LA-style taco/burrito truck once the relaxed street food rules take hold.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kagemusha
            jayt90 Aug 18, 2008 08:00 PM

            There is no reason why a chip truck or an ice cream truck in Toronto could not convert to Mexican food, as long as they have refrigeration and stick to the health codes.
            However. no truck owner will rush into this, because fries and soft ice cream are popular and profitable, especially when only a few trucks are licensed.

          2. m
            mramage Aug 16, 2008 09:56 AM

            I tried it yesterday at dinner - short line-up that took about 5 minutes, but boy, was I disappointed with the food. My problem was probably ordering the soft taco (barbacoa) rather than the burrito. It was way over-salted, and since the chips presented the same problem I got about half-way through before I said no mas. I suppose if you put the meat in a burrito where there is more fillings, the salt is not as noticable. I cannot honestly say if the meat was good or not because I could not get around the saltiness. Also, would it kill them to give a small amount of chips for free - by the time I had the tacos, chips/salsa, and small drink it was over $12.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mramage
              c
              callitasicit Aug 16, 2008 10:53 AM

              Sounds like a major disappointment.

            2. duckdown Aug 16, 2008 11:26 AM

              Moe's is absolutely terrible, and to think that this place is even worse... Highly disappointing

              I still stand by my reccomendation of saying El Sombrero has the best burritos around.

              2 Replies
              1. re: duckdown
                a
                abigllama Aug 17, 2008 01:42 PM

                What's so bad about Moe's? It's a burrito with fresh indredients and you pretty much tell them what to put in it. I don't think Moe's is groundbreaking or anything but it serves it's purpose when I'm in the area and want a burrito.

                Based on some of these threads I guess burritos reviews are like pizza or a burger. In the sense that people have a certain idea of what they want going into it so opinions are based on personal preference rather than quality or taste.

                I always enjoyed Chipotle in the US on about the same level that I enjoy Moe's here so I'm going to check it out. I've had some sketchy meat issues with Chipotle in the past but otherwise always liked it.

                1. re: abigllama
                  b
                  brendastarlet Aug 17, 2008 02:13 PM

                  I eat at Chipotle about once a month. The food is fresh, prepared quickly and satisfying. My main complaint is the lack of choices. It's difficult to build a tasty vegetarian or lower fat meal. I'd love to see them offer different kinds of vegetables, beyond just "salad," perhaps a fish alternative, and some soup. They don't have to go as broad as Baja Fresh, but it's nice to have some variety.

              2. w
                WestsideDiner Aug 17, 2008 03:11 PM

                Yep, complete disappointment.

                "Steak" burrito has steak cubes that has texture of chewing gum. I left most of it half chewed.

                A steak burrito, guac and small drink came out to over $12. No service, and seating worse than the local McD's.

                With local favorites like the Boys and Quesada - especially downtown - I think Chipotle is way too late to the table.

                1 Reply
                1. re: WestsideDiner
                  m
                  momof1 Aug 20, 2008 08:01 AM

                  I have to agree - the steak i had on the free burrito day at Chipotle was not chewable - i didn't finish eating the burrito because the rice wasn't fully cooked either. They do put a lot of stuff on there for you - major globs of guac and sour cream, and a bunch of cheese - but all rather bland. The medium salsa i had was ok - but i prefer the selection Moe's. Also the freshly made nacho's at Moes and the free salsa bar really add to the meal for me. I'll go to Yonge and Eglinton over Yonge and Dundas for my burritos from now on!

                2. a
                  abigllama Aug 17, 2008 08:06 PM

                  I stopped in here tonight with my partner on the way to see a movie. The Toronto version is exactly the same as the locations in the states. With the exception of my burrito falling apart about half way through, the meal was excellent.

                  Both the chicken and pork were excellent, well seasoned and tender. We both opted for the pintos with bacon and assorted veggies. The pintos with a hint of bacon added a nice touch to the burrito. Also really enjoyed the roasted corn salsa. We split a bag of chips and they were crunchy and tasted fresh.

                  In another post I mentioned some sketchy meat experiences in the past with Chipotle. It was with the cubed spicy steak which is way too chewy for my tastes and it looked exactly the same as the stuff I had a couple of years ago so probably best to avoid!.

                  There were several people behind the counter that served us prompty and explained our options and made recomendations. It was pretty busy but we made it through the line in just a few minutes.

                  The flavours are a bit more interesting than Moe's but it's a similar product. We will gladly return to see if they're consistant. With Boyz declining product and increasingly rude service (burritos don't taste any better when the person making them rolls their eyes and loudly sighs when asked a basic question), I'm glad Chipotle showed up.

                  BTW if anyone has a Nathan's hot dog craving downtown Johnny Rocket's has also just opened around the corner!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: abigllama
                    Davwud Aug 18, 2008 04:51 AM

                    Do they actually serve Nathan's hot dogs??

                    DT

                    1. re: Davwud
                      koknia Aug 18, 2008 06:34 AM

                      Is it a franchise or a company owned operation? The one in Denver is pretty solid for a chain.

                      1. re: koknia
                        Davwud Aug 18, 2008 07:30 AM

                        Are you refering to JR or C??

                        DT

                        1. re: koknia
                          a
                          albanis Aug 19, 2008 08:42 AM

                          This chain is owned by Macdonald's...

                          1. re: albanis
                            TorontoJo Aug 19, 2008 08:47 AM

                            McDonald's has not had a stake in Chipotle since 2006.

                        2. re: Davwud
                          duckdown Aug 18, 2008 02:14 PM

                          I googled this last night actually, check it out

                          http://www.johnnyrockets.com/themenu/...

                          1. re: duckdown
                            c
                            childofthestorm Aug 18, 2008 03:40 PM

                            I am more excited about this opening. Hit a Johnny Rockets a few weeks ago while in Buffalo and had both a burger and a hot dog. Followed by some Tums.

                            1. re: childofthestorm
                              duckdown Aug 18, 2008 04:07 PM

                              LOL nice, but was it any good?

                              1. re: duckdown
                                mlukan Aug 18, 2008 09:08 PM

                                Actually JR is decent for a chain, The burgers are decent and chili cheese fries are good as well. I have no idea why but when I was there in Vaughn Mills the workers started a little dance routine, It was cheesy and I was laughing at how funny it looked but it seemed like it was part of the job. I did not know they served Nathan's and will be checking it out again for sure.

                                1. re: mlukan
                                  a
                                  abigllama Aug 18, 2008 11:34 PM

                                  We're way off the Chipotle topic, but just to add quicky the JR Chili Cheese dog rocks if you get a craving!

                      2. thenurse Aug 19, 2008 07:17 AM

                        Tried Chipotle yesterday at lunch and found the experience pleasant overall. The line moved quickly, service was efficient and most importantly, the burrito tasted good and was worth the $8.50 (tax incl.). I got the Carnitas (pork) Burrito with Pinto Beans, which was HUGE. It was so huge, I only had toast for dinner, and I'm 8 months pregnant, so there's no lack of appetite here. I do wish they had a better, more generous selection of veggies, and that guacamole wasn't $1.99 extra - but they add a huge heap of it on for that price. Didn't try anything but this burrito, and I'll be back to try more.

                        1. ParsleySage Aug 19, 2008 09:29 AM

                          I was pleased to hear that Chipotle would be opening in Toronto as I always enjoy their Burrito bowls when I visit the US. I tried the Chicken Burrito bowl today. It tastes exactly the same in the US. The server I had was skimpy with the rice, but I was too fatigued from my walk up from King St to complain, ditto for toppings, the grilled chicken was well seasoned and had quite a bit of heat to it. Guacamole ($1.99 extra) and other toppings looked very fresh---but I did not order any. Service was efficient—and quick. Total for order came to $8.50 including tax (no drink ordered). I would give it a solid 6.5/10.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ParsleySage
                            grandgourmand Aug 19, 2008 09:51 AM

                            That's a fair rating. I just had my first burrito from Chipotle today. I was looking forward to the experience. My expectations were for a better burrito than what's available in a few downdown underground burrito places. Alas, no. I'll give them good markets for efficient service and fresh ingredients. However, it was lacking in the flavour department. i have a high heat tolerance, and I got barely anything out of their hot sauce. The other fillings, while fresh, were an underwhelming ensemble. I'll go back to try the pork one, but so far it's not as good as Fresh West grill in the underground. Mind you, the latter has gotten a bit skimpy in the fillings and the flavour isn't as good as it was in the past.

                          2. c
                            chow416 Aug 19, 2008 07:37 PM

                            Serious disappointment!
                            Given the state of Mexican food in Toronto, I wanted this place to be good.
                            I had good experiences at Chipotle in Chicago & NY and as I watched the Yonge St location being built, my anticipation grew.
                            Maybe this anticipation ran away with me to the point where I had idealized the Chipotle experience. Now, after three visits, I'm awake and never going back!
                            Their chips should come with a health warning: "Exposure to this much salt invalidates your OHIP coverage for almost everything." I'm talking two tablespoons of salt at the bottom of each bag which you won't be able to finish.

                            Tonight I waited 15 minutes in line. No lie. 15 minutes from joining the modest line to the point where I placed my order. No apology. Just astonishment that I would mention it and a reminder that as a customer, I, "have to accept" that it's going to take longer because not only does the staff need to be trained but so do the customers! As a paying customer, I refuse to be trained. And when I am paying full price, I'm not going to accept lousy serevice and bad food in an unplesant environment. A real let down.

                            1. m
                              M6J Aug 20, 2008 10:23 AM

                              Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to burrito places - having a SO who is from the Bay Area and holding the mission burrito dear to our hearts - so I'll at least try any new place opening in Toronto. Like others I've sampled the Chipotle offerings in other parts of the United States. So, when it opened last week, I had it on my radar for a quick lunch as I work nearby.

                              In short I would say that either this location is suffering from a case of new fast foot employee syndrome or it just plain misses the mark entirely. Prior to Paying: Ordering a simple mixed been burrito was difficult for staff to comprehend as they kept insisting that I have meat or veggies. I had to say at least four times, just black and pinto beans. It's great that they don't nickle and dime you over the guacamole, but this person put at least a cup of guac on the burrito, which then made "the roll" impossible. When it comes to burritos it's all in the roll. Needless to say this one fell apart immediately upon opening the tinfoil. I had to bring it back to the counter to get a re-roll. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to eat. The price: burrito, chips and a drink: 12 dollars. The burrito was actually quite bland and as others have said, the chips were over salted and stale in that chewy way. It might get better as the staff begin to hate their fast food jobs even more, but for my money I'll keep going to Quesada - better food and service at exactly half the price

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: M6J
                                duckdown Aug 20, 2008 11:00 AM

                                Try El Sombrero!

                                They make a great burrito, and EVERYTHING is made in front of you and in-store, even the tortilla :)

                                Get a chicken tacquito also ;)

                                1. re: duckdown
                                  pinkprimp Aug 20, 2008 12:11 PM

                                  where is it?

                                2. re: M6J
                                  d
                                  dragonflygrl Aug 21, 2008 06:57 PM

                                  I'm not sure if it's open yet, but there is a new place at 109 McCaul St., called "Mission Burrito."
                                  It may be just the fix you and your SO have been craving,
                                  If you do try them, report back and let us know how they are,

                                  1. re: dragonflygrl
                                    gregclow Aug 24, 2008 07:47 AM

                                    I had a pork burrito from Mission last week, and it was very good - well stuffed, really tasty, and a healthy dollop of guac included in the price. It got a bit soggy towards the end, but I had no complaints otherwise.

                                    I can't claim to be a Mission-style burrito expert, so purists may not find it up to snuff. But it met my three criteria for a weekday lunch: tasty, filling, and reasonably priced.

                                    1. re: dragonflygrl
                                      d
                                      downtown Aug 25, 2008 01:15 PM

                                      I had a chicken burrito from Mission (as reported in a separate post) last week and was not impressed at all. Much inferior to the other Toronto burritos I have tried (Burrito Boyz, Big Fat Burrito). I found it soggy, not well filled and not particularly tasty.

                                  2. red dragon Aug 21, 2008 09:13 AM

                                    Sorry to hear it's not that great in Toronto. I've only been to the Chicago location (several times in one week) back in May. Althought chowhounders might not agree with Chipotle Grill being authentic, and also being a chain, I found it very tasty and fresh. The chips and guac in Chicago were fresh, crunchy and flavorful. It's a shame the Toronto location sounds nothing like the one I visited. P.S. Chips and guac in Chicago were $2, burritos if I can recall were in the $6 range? Then again, we are talking U.S vs Canada.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: red dragon
                                      e
                                      eatereater123 Aug 21, 2008 07:07 PM

                                      I lived in Chicago and NYC and those were two cities where Chipotle's considered the food court version of burritos. No one goes to Chipotle expecting burrito supremecy, they go for the same reason people go to McD's for burgers - consistent, fast, cheap and conveniently located.

                                      (You can see why McD's chose to invest in Chipotle.)

                                    2. m
                                      markml Aug 21, 2008 08:22 PM

                                      I'm thinking I might have been a little harsh on them in my first review.

                                      Ok, so I went back there. This time I avoided the chips and just ordered a steak burrito. The chopped steak they gave me was fresh off the grill. I will say that the steak meat is fresh and a grade higher than most fast food burrito places (even in California, I've had burritos with low-quality meat).

                                      It is a bit chewy (so don't expect to gulf it down), but real steak is chewy, especially when it's cut into those big chunks. I'm undecided about whether I like the chewiness factor or not, but at least I know I'm getting real steak and not dogfood.

                                      The saltiness is a different issue. Has anyone here been to a U.S. Chipotle recently who can comment on whether their stuff is as salty, because I don't remember it so. Making everything so salty gives it that "fast food quality", which is a definite turn-off. I also think it's completely unnecessary, because the ingredients seem good enough that you don't need the salt to disguise them...unless, they are planning to pull a bait-and-switch and replace the ingredients with cheaper ones later on.

                                      Actually, I've noticed that most fast food chains are worse here than in the U.S. Anyone else notice this?

                                      I enjoyed the service, and found the staff to be very friendly, intelligent and well-trained. Much better than other fast food places and even full-service restaurants downtown in this city.

                                      It's definitely worth trying out, but whatever you do, AVOID THE CHIPS!

                                      18 Replies
                                      1. re: markml
                                        t
                                        tjr Aug 22, 2008 07:22 AM

                                        In the States, a steak burrito with all the salsas and toppings, pinto beans and rice contains almost 4000mg of sodium. I can't imagine the Canadian version being MORE salty, though I don't find it tastes any saltier than the ones I've had in the US.

                                        As an aside, all fast food chains seem to be better in Japan than anywhere else.

                                        1. re: tjr
                                          m
                                          markml Aug 22, 2008 03:42 PM

                                          Well, maybe we can do some investigation on the sodium content at the Toronto Chipotle. I'd be curious to see if it's higher, because I've never noticed the saltiness before.

                                          I've never been to Japan, but I believe what you're saying since they seem to have a higher standard for just about everything. I was thinking though that maybe Canadian fast food is inferior than the U.S. because there's less demand for it here?

                                          1. re: markml
                                            t
                                            TexSquared Aug 22, 2008 09:30 PM

                                            Actually, I'd say Canadian fast food is inferior because of a lack of competition. No competition = lower quality and higher prices. Goes for everything, not just fast food.

                                            I know we're discussing Chipotle (I've never been to it, on either side of the border), but if you want to compare apples to apples rather than apples to oranges, compare Canadian KFC to American KFC. The American outlets serve chicken pieces twice as big and charge 25% less than the Canadian outlets. After visiting KFC in the U.S. on trips, on principle I never go to the ones in Canada. I feel ripped off.

                                            1. re: TexSquared
                                              t
                                              tjr Aug 22, 2008 09:46 PM

                                              Have you ever bought chicken in the States before? If you've ever been shopping at grocery stores there, you'll notice that the chicken (regardless of cut/portion) is much larger, and much, much cheaper than the Canadian equivalent.

                                              Not to defend KFC, though, because I find it disgusting (hilariously enough, in Japan, people really only buy KFC buckets at Christmas, where it is a traditional X'mas Eve dinner. KFC does poorly in the market otherwise, and offerings are mostly fried shrimp wraps and stuff like that).

                                              1. re: tjr
                                                m
                                                markml Aug 23, 2008 05:40 PM

                                                Do you know who has stricter regulations when it comes to growth hormones, etc? That could effect prices. I know that Tyson chicken in the U.S. is hormone free.

                                                1. re: markml
                                                  jayt90 Aug 23, 2008 06:40 PM

                                                  Our poultry marketing board controls supply and wholesale prices of those products. A controlled market is fair to farmers, if they can buy a quota. U.S. is a free-for-all, so quality may suffer, even barn conditions can deteriorate. Its your choice.

                                              2. re: TexSquared
                                                m
                                                markml Aug 23, 2008 05:37 PM

                                                Well, when it comes to national burger places, you have pretty much the same chains in Canada as you do in the U.S. (plus a couple extra in Canada that you don't have in the U.S.), so I'm not sure I understand the competition argument in this case...

                                                Although I can definitely see how competition is a major issue in other areas in this country (including Mexican food and food that is regionalized in the U.S.).

                                                1. re: TexSquared
                                                  j
                                                  Jar Aug 25, 2008 01:49 PM

                                                  Oh TexSquared enjoy what is " good " here from KFC! The town I live in had a bit of a takeover of a larger KFC/Pizza Hut/Taco Bell operation ( Rough Stuff )!! Chasing to not want a bite, they finally brought back a forever Manager, the KFC chicken was not being coated with the supply, seemed like a chick pea mixture, whatever, the result was Soggy Fried Chicken, yes Soggy Fried Chicken, for months!!!!!! Don't be too ripped off when considering this long period of Soggy Fried Chicken. I hate Head Office in many regards, sometimes it's just the local basics!!!

                                            2. re: markml
                                              Bobby Wham Aug 22, 2008 03:09 PM

                                              Wow, I can't believe people are hating on this place so much, I think it's good, ingredients we're really fresh, the burrito was MASSIVE, and it was $7.95? what's wrong with that?

                                              1. re: Bobby Wham
                                                m
                                                markml Aug 22, 2008 03:49 PM

                                                I wouldn't call it "massive" because the last one I ate, I started and finished just while walking upstairs to my apartment. I'd say it's decently sized, could be a little bit cheaper, and that they're stingy with extras like chips compared to other burrito chains (not that I want their chips anyway).

                                                1. re: Bobby Wham
                                                  j
                                                  Jar Aug 22, 2008 04:03 PM

                                                  Heyy Bobby -- Realize we are dealing with a diverse community, different tastes, real and imagined. service the similar --- The point is to either enjoy or not ------- If you enjoyed, that's the point!!! --- It is more than a bit crazy to find those seeking the real, the authentic cuisine, etc. And complaints about this dish and that. IF YOU ENJOY, SHARE THE INFO AS YOU DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, to bring people down to earth and ENJOY!!! I will remind all these Chowhounds seeking PERFECTION, it is not a work followed by A POSITIVE!!! No perfect genius, take it from there!! Bobby Wham them!!!!!!

                                                  1. re: Jar
                                                    5
                                                    5andman Aug 23, 2008 07:11 PM

                                                    Just got back from LA & Las Vegas and I find it interesting how little Mexican Restos are in a city as large as Toronto. Every suburb in LA has at least 30 Mexican themed resto.

                                                    1. re: 5andman
                                                      m
                                                      markml Aug 24, 2008 12:36 AM

                                                      Shouldn't be that surprising. Even though Toronto is very large and cosmopolitan, it is no where near as large as LA, which also has the second highest population of ethnic Mexicans IN THE WORLD. Considering that Mexico City (which has the highest population) is the 2nd largest city in the world, that's saying a lot!

                                                      Every year, almost a million Mexican nationals move to the U.S. The number trickling into Canada is only in the thousands, several significant digits less, though growing steadily.

                                                      You'll find small suburbs in the midwest that seem to have more Mexicans than Toronto (unless the ones in T.O. are hiding really well).

                                                      1. re: markml
                                                        5
                                                        5andman Aug 24, 2008 10:17 AM

                                                        That's funny you mention the "one's that are hiding". I have friends that live up north near farms (eg. Alliston) and certain periods during the summer, the town streets are crowded with Mexicans, hired for harvesting. You'll see them picking up supplies at No Frills etc.. It's a great opportunity for them to make some some money and bring it home.

                                                        1. re: 5andman
                                                          Davwud Aug 24, 2008 10:54 AM

                                                          Yes, the workers in the Holland Marsh are Mexicans. The church in Bradford Mrs. Sippi sometimes goes to has many Latinos and has a Spanish mass.

                                                          There's a Mexican restaurant in Bradford that we past. We asked a Latin (Not sure where she's from) and she said that a lot of people she knows go there and think it's very good.

                                                          I was told a few years ago by a Mexican that as far as LEGAL immigration, the US is kinda out and Canada is hot. So the community is growing. Not fast enough though.

                                                          DT

                                                          1. re: Davwud
                                                            g
                                                            georgebell11 Aug 25, 2008 05:52 PM

                                                            I have eaten Burrito Boyz far more times than I can count, and also been to Quesada a number of times. I can say now, after two trips to Chipotle, that neither of those places will be seeing my business again. Amazingly fresh ingredients, incredible flavour and terrific, friendly, speedy service. This is by far the best burrito I've ever had. Carnitas (pork) was tremendous, and the barbacoa (shredded beef) was nearly as good. I only wish this were closer to my work than the 15 min walk it is!

                                                            1. re: georgebell11
                                                              d
                                                              ddelicious Sep 17, 2008 09:58 AM

                                                              Tried it today for the first time, haven't been to the states ones either. If you want an enormous burrito its the place to go, the thing was so heavy I was exhausted lugging it back to the office. Ingredients seemed fresh. I had the veggie one, it was quite spicy, quite salty, but otherwise very bland. Nothing seemed to have any flavour. Don't think I would bother going back, although the place was extremely busy so apparently I am outvoted.

                                                              1. re: ddelicious
                                                                Dimbulb Sep 17, 2008 02:53 PM

                                                                I wasn't impressed with Chipotle's veggie burrito. It's the same price as those with meat, but the veggie burrito just leaves out the meat — no extra veg. And two bucks for a spoonful of watery guac? C'mon!

                                              2. duckdown Sep 17, 2008 05:09 PM

                                                Try El Sombrero in Mississauga!!

                                                1. p
                                                  Pincus Sep 17, 2008 05:27 PM

                                                  I was there two weeks back for lunch, had the chicken and added guac and chips. $15! And for a really mediocre meal. Could barely taste the chicken, although all the vegetable toppings swelled the burrito out. The chips didn't seem too salty compared to some, maybe they figured it out or maybe I was just lucky. Won't be returning, will seek burrito fixes elsewhere.

                                                  1. m
                                                    martinluther Sep 18, 2008 08:44 AM

                                                    Having been a regular at Chipotle while living in the US, I found the new Toronto location to be a big let down. I had the steak fajita burrito. The steak is supposed to be tenderized flank steak, but the texture was very tough and at times inedible. The grilled veggies (red onion, green pepper) were not cut thin enough. To add insult to injury, you pay more for a burrito here in TO than in the US and it's a smaller sized burrito. The most disappointing part were the salty tortilla chips. Some chips were truly disgusting the amount of salt on them.

                                                    For a ethnically diverse city like TO, it's sad that I can't still find a good burrito.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: martinluther
                                                      t
                                                      tjr Sep 18, 2008 07:14 PM

                                                      Ethnically diverse, but lacking a large Mexican population.

                                                      1. re: martinluther
                                                        m
                                                        MindGrinder Oct 22, 2008 07:28 PM

                                                        Having had both the U.S. and Canadian version. The T.O. was superior. You can find a great Burrito in this city. The bigger problem is find a realistic customer!

                                                        1. re: MindGrinder
                                                          Davwud Oct 23, 2008 04:50 AM

                                                          LOL

                                                          I have to admit, I've never had one of the sacred burritos of California fame but I go to Moe's quite often and I think it's a pretty damned good burrito. Maybe it's not the best this city has to offer and I'm full willing to allow that it's not the worlds best burrito. But to say it's not good is just wrong.
                                                          I very much liked my BB experience but my NY Sub one was less than great. It tasted okay but the steak had a lot of gristle in it.
                                                          I have not been to Chipotle and since it's not convenient and have a place I like, I'll probably just skip it based on reviews.

                                                          DT

                                                          1. re: Davwud
                                                            pinstripeprincess Oct 23, 2008 08:33 AM

                                                            the lamb at nysub is the ultimate! getting it with extra eggplant makes it deliciously fun.

                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                              Davwud Nov 11, 2008 04:04 AM

                                                              They didn't have it when I was there.

                                                              I'm fully willing to give it another chance. I'm just saying my steak burrito was less that impressive.

                                                              DT

                                                              1. re: Davwud
                                                                pinstripeprincess Nov 11, 2008 06:44 AM

                                                                i'm just being overly enthusiastic about such a cheap simple eat. i've had the steak before and was definitely less impressed simply because you couldn't bite through it and would have to take down more than a mouthful of meat at times.

                                                      2. r
                                                        rbp foodie Oct 22, 2008 04:24 PM

                                                        Had a steak fajita burrito today. Very tasty, and the steak was medium rare! Yum!

                                                        Burrito Boys = 100; Chipotle's = 95.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: rbp foodie
                                                          a
                                                          abigllama Nov 11, 2008 01:56 PM

                                                          I have been getting a burrito here about once every couple of weeks. Still don't understand what all the grumbling is about so going probably second MeatGrinder assumption of unrealistic expectations. I enjoy the TO location just about the same as I did when I'd grab one every couple of weeks when I lived in California. And no this isn't the legendary California burritos that I could get there, but a fast food version that was on the way home.

                                                          You have some options here that can really make or break your meal. The pintos with bacon makes for a tastier option than the black beans. Don't get the steak, it looks good but it's super chewy. Anything else is really good especially the carnitas and barbacoa. The hot sauce is pretty damn hot, I ask for medium with a small dash of hot which gives it a kick without the unpleasant stuff I get from full blown hot. The guac is ok but not really worth the extra that they charge for it. The chips are inconsistant and way too much for one person to eat alone, usually best split at least 2 or 3 ways.

                                                          I used to go out of my way for Burrito Boys when it was the only game in town. I still enjoy the occasional bean burrito from there. But the declining quality, taste and bitchy service keep me going back to Chipotle which is usually on the way to something I'm doing.

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